A little twist to the traditional lemon cake. Spruce up your holiday table and serve this olive oil lemon cake with basil and pomegranate. Find more of my pomegranate recipes.
When it comes to gift-giving, I tend to be a procrastinator. I know some people have all of their holiday gift shopping done way before November rolls in. I am definitely NOT one of those people.
When my kids were little and they didn’t pay too close attention to the latest and greatest toys out there, it was easy. But now, even for family and friends, I’m finding myself dreading the holiday shopping.
I always tell my husband, when it comes to gifts, it’s about the thought behind the gift, not the gift itself. So for me, I like to give (and receive) homemade gifts. Edible gifts are my favorite!
Why this recipe is so awesome
Since I wrote a cookbook all about cooking with extra virgin olive oil, I’m obviously a big fan of that green stuff! I fry with olive oil and cook with olive oil all the time. I even shared with you cocktails with olive oil. But my favorite method, by far, is to bake with olive oil.
I have already shared with you my recipe for vanilla olive oil cake. This is a standard vanilla cake that I use for my kids birthdays.
It might sound strange, but adding herbs to desserts is not at all unheard of. And I’m talking about going beyond mint. I have an apricot galette made with thyme and a grape upside down cake made with rosemary. So for this olive oil lemon cake, I chose to use basil.
Lemon and basil pair so well together so that was an easy addition to the flavors. You can enjoy this cake alone or drizzle the lemon glaze over it. I garnished my olive oil lemon cake with more of winter’s colors and flavors: pomegranate arils, chopped pistachios, lemon zest and even some more fresh basil.
I think it turned out gorgeous and delicious. What do you think?
Ingredients you need
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy
- Extra virgin olive oil: I bake almost exclusively with olive oil. Choose a mild flavored oil and NOT a peppery one. You can also use a lemon infused olive oil for more lemony flavor.
- Greek yogurt: Baking with yogurt yields a very moist muffin. If you do not have plain yogurt, use sour cream.
- Eggs: When it comes to baking, it is standard to use large eggs.
- Lemons: You will use the juice and zest from lemons, both in the cake, in the icing and as a garnish.
- Fresh basil: You can also use fresh mint or rosemary. Fresh has more flavor and impact than dried, so please try to find fresh herbs.
- Garnish: Pomegranate arils and pistachios
- Pantry staples: All purpose flour, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt
1. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, yogurt, olive oil, ¼ cup lemon juice, lemon zest, and eggs until combined.
3. In batches, mix flour mixture into yogurt mixture and stir until combined.
4. Stir in ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil and then pour mixture into a 9-inch round cake pan or a 9-inch loaf pan coated with non-stick spray and line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper.
5. Place the cake in the oven at 350ºF and cook for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. Place the cake on a cooling rack, and let it cool for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
7. For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar with 2 teaspoon lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle glaze over the cake prior to serving. Garnish cake with pomegranate arils, 1 TBS finely chopped pistachios and ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil.
Recipe tips and FAQs
I have made this olive oil lemon cake in many forms over the years. The cake below was made for The Professor and his friends before they headed off to homecoming. I added lemon juice and lemon zest to simple buttercream frosting and it turned out heavenly! Such a delicious and sophisticated cake for everyone to enjoy!
- 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 3 large eggs
- Grated zest from 1 lemon
- ⅓ cup finely chopped fresh basil
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup pomegranate arils
- 1 TBS finely chopped pistachios
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Apply non-stick spray to one 9-inch round cake pan or a 9-inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl, mix together sugar, yogurt, olive oil, ¼ cup lemon juice, lemon zest, and eggs until combined.
- In batches, mix flour mixture into yogurt mixture and stir until combined.
- Stir in ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil and then pour mixture into prepared cake pan.
- Place the cake in the oven and cook for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Place the cake on a cooling rack, and let it cool for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
- For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar with 2 teaspoon lemon juice until smooth.
- Drizzle glaze over the cake prior to serving.
- Garnish cake with pomegranate arils, 1 TBS finely chopped pistachios and ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil.
Serving Suggestions: Perfect for your afternoon tea or served with fresh seasonal fruit.
Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 355Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 205mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 1gSugar: 27gProtein: 7g
PS If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback.
You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram. Sign up for my eMail list, too!